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Financial management in academic libraries


Financial
Management

in Academic Libraries:
Data-Driven
Planning
and Budgeting
Robert E. Dugan
and Peter Hernon

Association of College and Research Libraries

A division of the American Library Association
Chicago, Illinois 2018


The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences–Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials,
ANSI Z39.48-1992. ∞

Cataloging-in-Publication data is on file with the Library of Congress.


Copyright ©2018 by the Association of College and Research Libraries.
All rights reserved except those which may be granted by Sections 107 and 108 of
the Copyright Revision Act of 1976.
Printed in the United States of America.
22 21 20 19 18 5 4 3 2 1


Contents
ixPreface
xiNotes
xiBibliography

1

Chapter 1. Planning
2

Why Plan?
2

3
4

Factors in Planning
Planning Techniques
4
Standards and Guidelines
5

11

Table 1.1. Resources Available for Academic Libraries to Learn
about Expected Future Trends

Table 1.2. Mapping Collection Development to ACRL Standards
for Libraries in Higher Education, 2017

8Forecasting
8
Management by Objectives
9
Total Quality Management
9
Strategic Planning
Major Components of a Long-Term Strategic Plan
12 Box 1.1. Strategic Plan
13 Box 1.2. Objective 1 and Activities
15 Table 1.3. Objective 1: Selected Portions of Crosswalk to
University Strategic Plans

17

Strategic Finance and Planning
18 Table 1.4. Strategic Finance Expenditure for Objective 1:
Collections

21Conclusion
21Exercises
22Notes
23Bibliography

25

Chapter 2. General Concepts: Just So We Are on the Same
Page
26 Table 2.1. Core Values of Librarianship

27

Systems Model
iii


ivCONTENTS

27 Figure 2.1. Systems Model

28Accountability
29 A Financial Management Cycle
29 Table 2.2. Financial Management Calendar FY2018–FY2021
Based on Calendar Years

31 Basic Steps
32 Management Information Systems
33 Other General Concepts
33Conclusion
34 Table 2.3. MIS Example

35Exercises
36Notes
36Bibliography

37

Chapter 3. Types of Budgets
37Budgets
38 Types of Budgets
39 Lump Sum Budgets
39 Line-Item Budgets
40 Table 3.1. Line-Item Budget
40 Table 3.2. Selected Detailed Line-Item Budget

41

Formula Budgets
42 Figure 3.1. Collection Development Formula

42

Program Budgets
43 Table 3.3. Monographs Formula Budget
44 Box 3.1. Example of a Budget Request Aligned to Objectives

45 Modified Program Budgets
45 Performance Budgets
46 Resource-Centered Budgets
47 Zero-Based Budgets
47Conclusion
48Exercises
48Notes
48Bibliography

49

Chapter 4. Budgeting
50 Sources of Funds
51 Types of Costs
51
Direct and Indirect Costs
52 Fixed and Variable Costs
52 Overhead Costs
52 In-Kind Costs
53 Capital Costs
53 Controllable and Non-controllable Costs
53 A Note about Costs
53 Where Do We Get Information for Budgeting?
54 Table 4.1. Example of Past Year Expenditures

58 Data Used for Budgeting
59 Table 4.2. Student Head Count by Class Level




Contents

59 Table 4.3. College of Business Students, 2014 and 2015

60 Staff and Staffing
62 Box 4.1. Example of a Staffing Plan for the Circulation
Department Aligned to Strategic Plan
64 Table 4.4. Example of a CUPA-HR Salary Table

67Collections
67 Allocation Formulas
68 Table 4.5. Monograph Allocation Formula

69Consortia
69 Additional Collections Expenditures
70 Table 4.6. Past Year Collection Expenditures for Select Academic
Departments

71
Every So Often…
71
Other Sources of Data for Collections
71Technologies
74 Box 4.2. The Evaluation Section from a Library’s Technology Plan

76Facilities
78Conclusion
79 Table 4.7. Monthly Entrance Data from Daily Reports by Hour

80Exercises
80Notes
81Bibliography

83

Chapter 5. Program Budgeting
83 Program Budgets in General
84 Variations in Program Budgeting
85 Example of Developing a Program Budget
86 Program Budgeting and the Library’s Strategic Plan
87 Program Budgeting and the Budget
89 Program Budgeting and Metrics
89 Program Budgeting Template
90 Table 5.1. Program Budget Template
92 Table 5.2. ILL Measures of Success from Previous Fiscal Year

93Conclusion
93Exercises
94Notes

95

Chapter 6. Managing a Budget during the Fiscal Year
96 Control: A Technical Term and Function
97 Control Tools
98 Figure 6.1. A PERT Chart

99 Policies Influencing Financial Management
100 Table 6.1. Print Collection Valuation Report for Risk Management

102 Monitoring Budget Expenditures
103 Table 6.2. Expenditure Percentages during the Fiscal Year

104Conclusion
104Exercises
105Notes
105Bibliography

v


viCONTENTS

107 Chapter 7. Reports and Reporting
108 Internal Reporting
108 Table 7.1. Example of a Budget Status Report
109 Table 7.2. Example of Detail from a Budget Status Report for
General Operating Supplies
110 Table 7.3. Expenditure Summary for Managers

113 External Reporting
114 Table 7.4. Part of the Worksheet for the ACRL Annual Survey
Form
115 Table 7.5. IPEDS Academic Libraries Survey for Expenses,
2016–2017
116 Table 7.6. National Association of Schools of Music, Library and
Learning Resources

116 The Annual Report
117 Table 7.7. Example of Expenditures from Annual Report

118Audits
118Conclusion
119Exercises
119Notes
119Bibliography

121 Chapter 8. Uses of Expenditures Data
122
123
124
125

Evaluation and Assessment Processes
Metrics Used by Academic Libraries
Financial Metrics
Calculating Unit Costs
125 Table 8.1. Cost per Database Use
126 Table 8.2. Unit Costs for Interlibrary Loan
131 Table 8.3. Cost to Answer a Reference Question

132 Library Value from a Financial Perspective
132 Money and Time
133 Cost-Benefit Analysis
133 Intellectual Capital
133 Return on Investment
135 Table 8.4. Library Return on Institutional Investment

136 Value of Usage
137 Table 8.5. Student Value of Usage Worksheet
139 Figure 8.1. Student ROI Calculator

139 Potential and Actual Value
140 Financial Metrics for Studies on Benchmarking and Best Practices
140Benchmarking
142 Table 8.6. Benchmarking: Salary and Wages Expenditures per
Enrolled Student

143 Best Practices
143 Table 8.7. Best Practice: Peer Libraries with Collection
Expenditures Exceeding 50 Percent of Total Expenditures
144 Table 8.8. Best Practices: Collection Expenditures per FTE
Student

145Conclusion




Contents

145Exercises
145Notes
146Bibliography

147 Chapter 9. A Smorgasbord: Budget Reduction Strategies,
Fraud, and Best Practices
147 Reductions in Expected or Allocated Budgets
148 Table 9.1. Reducing a Budget as Aligned to a Strategic Plan’s
Objectives

153 Library Fraud
155 Conclusion: Summary of the “Best of” Best Practices
156Exercises
157Notes
158Bibliography

159 Chapter 10. Financial Leadership
160 Table 10.1. Differences between Financial Management and
Financial Leadership

162Leadership
163 Leadership Theories
165 Developing a Fuller Vision
166 How to Develop the More Detailed Image of the Future
167 Translating a Vision into an Action Plan
168 Box 10.1. Expanding Service Roles

170Conclusion
170Exercises
171Notes
172Bibliography

175Appendix. Answers to Exercise Questions
175
176
177
177
178
180
181
182

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
183 Appendix Table 1. Instruction Program Budget Expenditures
Template

185 Chapter 9
186 Chapter 10

187 About the Authors

vii



Preface
An important aspect of librarianship, regardless of the type of library, relates to
financial management, which essentially deals with the management of the budget
and expenditures as libraries engage in planning and demonstrate their accountability, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability. Complicating matters, academic
library budgets might range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of
dollars. Everyone who engages in library management oversees a fraction of that
amount or, as directors, they are responsible (accountable) for the entire amount
and for all expenditures. Camila A. Alire and G. Edward Evans underscore that
“understanding institutional finances and how and where funds come from and are
spent is important to academic libraries.”1 So too is an understanding of the budget
process from a library perspective. Anyone wanting to become a library manager,
from middle management upward, must be knowledgeable about the management
of academic library budgets, from the planning stage through stages for implementation, reporting, and conducting audits. Such a person also needs familiarity with
data collection, the use of metrics (input, output, throughputs, and outcomes), the
ability to relate the use of the data gathered to improved performance and organizational efficiency, and automated management information systems.
In its first eight chapters, Financial Management in Academic Libraries: DataDriven Planning and Budgeting covers the various stages and topics involved in
managing budgets: planning, the types of budgets used in academic institutions,
the overall budgeting process as well as a specific process in program budgeting,
managing a budget during the fiscal year and its aftermath, and providing reports
on the budget. A ninth chapter introduces general concepts, which ensures that
readers understand the context for financial management in academic libraries
(e.g., the financial management cycle, a system model, and the importance of
accountability). The final, or tenth, chapter elevates the discussion from financial
management to financial leadership, the articulation of a detailed vision, and the
realignment of the budget with the promises specified in that vision statement.
The values addressed are ones that, we believe, all academic library leaders
ix


xPREFACE

should possess. They should align these critical values with financial matters and
demonstrate a context for them.
Some time-honored best practices are included; these may help new middle
managers as they gain experience with managing budgets. The application of data
is evident throughout the book, such as our showing what data are needed for
planning and preparing the budget, dealing with expenditures as outputs, and
understanding how costs for programs and services are calculated. Data are also
applied for benchmarks and best practices. The tables and figures in the book
represent actual applications, and most of them are replicable in an academic
library environment. Text boxes add clarity to the discussion, while chapter
exercises enable readers to form groups and to work together in answering the
questions.
Similar to our other coauthored works, this one takes both a practitioner and
a more theoretical perspective. One of the authors, Robert E. Dugan, relates his
many years of experience in managing academic library budgets. Both of us have
taught at the master’s and doctoral levels, and one of us, Peter Hernon, created
and maintained a doctoral program, managerial leadership in the information
professions, and made the connections between financial management and
financial leadership (see chapter 10). We have also delivered webinars and
workshops for new library middle managers.
The audience for Financial Management in Academic Libraries includes
middle managers and those in higher management positions wanting a review of
key issues. Both groups might regard this work as a companion to Managing with
Data,2 which shows readers how to extract, use, and interpret data available from
ACRLMetrics, an online service that provides access to the data from the ACRL/
ARL annual survey (1998 to 2014), ACRL’s annual survey (2015 to present), the
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) academic library statistics (2000
to 2012), the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) annual
Academic Libraries component (2014 to present), plus select IPEDS metrics
for libraries (2004 to present).3 Other audiences include individuals aspiring
to be managers and students in management courses in schools of library and
information science.
The readers of this book will see the connection between financial management
and accountability, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability. Among the
different units of an academic institution, the library has an advantage in that its
managers can link these concepts to the library’s infrastructure, namely its staffing,
collections, services, and technology. Planning and the budget focus on these
components and enable everyone in the library to work to achieve organizational
sustainability over time.


Preface

Notes
1. Camila A. Alire and G. Edward Evans, Academic Librarianship (New York: Neal-Schuman,
2010), 119.
2. Peter Hernon, Robert E. Dugan, and Joseph R. Matthews, Managing with Data (Chicago:
ALA Editions, 2015).
3.Ibid.


Bibliography
Alire, Camila A., and G. Edward Evans. Academic Librarianship. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2010).
Hernon, Peter, Robert E. Dugan, and Joseph R. Matthews. Managing with Data: Using ACRLMetrics
and PLAmetrics. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2015.

xi



Chapter 1

Planning
The basis for budgeting is planning, where the goals and objectives specified in
a library’s long-term plan are aligned with the plans of the organizational levels
above it, such as a division (e.g., academic affairs) and the institution. Briefly,
a plan at any organizational level identifies the goals that will be pursued, the
courses of action to adopt to attain those goals through measurable objectives,
and the allocation of organizational resources from the budget to attain those
goals.
The plan accounts for a library’s unique identity and enables it to function
within the institution as a customer-focused organization that develops
information services intended to meet stakeholder needs and expectations and
to shape the customer experience. The plan also serves as a basis for marketing
services to nonusers who comprise potential customers (these might be students
and faculty members who are unaware of the services and support available and
who might be willing to use such services and take advantage of that support).
There are critical concepts central to the creation of a plan. First, the plan
explains the purpose of the library, its capabilities, and the processes for moving
the library from where it is to where it wants to be by a specified time. The plan
lays out a predetermined course of action and commits resources, mostly through
budgeting, to accomplish that course of action. The planning process should
include all levels of library management and staff, as well as customers, actual
and potential, who will be affected by the plan as it is implemented. Finally, the
planning process results in a written document. If done well, the plan becomes
the library’s internal and external guide to action rather than an overlooked
document collecting dust and serving little, if any, purpose other than showing
that the library has a plan.

1


2

Chapter 1

Why Plan?
In addition to the requirement of most institutions that their organizational units
have a plan, there are other reasons for a library to develop and implement a plan.
First, planning provides a sense of direction for the future—a long-term view that
advocates for services. Second, the library should plan for change rather than
becoming a victim of unplanned change. Libraries plan to offset uncertainty by
anticipating future change. Many resources are available for academic libraries
to learn about expected future trends, including reports and articles from the
Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and from organizations such
as EDUCAUSE (see table 1.1). Third, planning involves staff in decision making as
they participate in the planning process, giving them shared ownership of library’s
operations. Fourth, a plan helps management coordinate different library functions
and departments in a consistent and logical way. Fifth, a plan guides the budget and
expenditure processes.
Table 1.1
Resources Available for Academic Libraries to Learn about Expected Future Trends
Organization

What

Website

Association
of College
and Research
Libraries (ACRL)

Every other year (even), the ACRL
Research Planning and Review
Committee produces a review of the
trends and issues affecting academic
libraries in higher education.

Appears in the June issue of
College and Research Libraries
News; http://crln.acrl.org/index.
php/crlnews

Association
of College
and Research
Libraries (ACRL)

Every other year (odd), the ACRL
Research Planning and Review
Committee publishes a scan of the
higher education environment with
a focus on implications for academic
libraries.

http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/
ala.org.acrl/files/content/
publications/whitepapers/
EnvironmentalScan2017.pdf
(2017 edition)

The New Media
Consortium

NMC Horizon Report: Library
Edition, an annual report.

https://www.nmc.org/
publication-type/horizon-report

Ithaka S+R

US Library Survey (about every three http://www.sr.ithaka.org/
years; latest is 2016).
publications/us-librarysurvey-2016

American Library
Association

Center for the Future of Libraries

EDUCAUSE

A nonprofit association and a
https://library.educause.edu/
community of IT leaders and
topics; then select Libraries and
professionals committed to advancing Technologies
higher education; has a topic section
on libraries and technologies.

http://www.ala.org/
transforminglibraries/future

Lastly, a plan provides a means to demonstrate accountability to the multiplicity
of library stakeholders. From a financial management perspective, the inputs (the


Planning

allocation of the budget and the resulting numbers) must align with the outputs
(the volume of use made). It is possible to connect how much was expended and
for how many units as managers discover if the application of resources resulted
in the expected volume of use. For example, if an objective is to strengthen the
library’s existing general biology collection to support undergraduate students,
four important questions arise:
1. How much was budgeted?
2. How much was expended?
3. How many resources were purchased?
4. Did the purchased resources strengthen the general biology collection?1
Library managers can review the measurable objectives specified in the plan and
evaluate the extent to which they were attained. To do this, they might compare the
evidence gathered to the standards and guidelines issued by professional associations
or accrediting organizations. An example is ACRL’s 2017 Standards for Libraries in
Higher Education Principle on Collections, which states, “Libraries provide access to
collections sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, format, and currency to support the
research and teaching mission of the institution.”2 The library may provide data to
support this performance indicator by conveying customer satisfaction with library
resources, the ratio of the collection by format (print and electronic), and the ratio
of successful searches for library resources to all searches conducted.

Factors in Planning
Plans incorporate the perspective of those closest to carrying out the operations
in the individual units and departments. Additionally, managers ensure that the
information necessary to produce the plan proceeds upward from the bottom of
the hierarchy. The information from all levels is compiled and forms the plan for
the whole organization. Proceeding this way ensures that the entire organization
benefits from the plan.
The more relevant and comprehensive the information on which the plan is
based, the better the results from the planning process will be. Planning focuses on
the systematic collection of data about the library and its services: the use of these
services, information about day-to-day operations and functions, staff activities
and workflows, and use of spaces and equipment. To collect such data, the library
relies on its integrated library system, internal data gathering (e.g., gate counts,
the number of reference questions asked, the number of books loaned through
interlibrary loan), vendor-provided reports, surveys, staff observation, and user
comments.3 Many of the data can be compiled into a management information
system for basic analysis.4
Information is also collected about the internal and external environments that
affect the library. Internally, the library can gather data on activities and processes,

3


4

Chapter 1

such as how long it takes to reshelve a print volume in the stacks and the associated
staff costs. Externally, data can be collected about the expected cost increases for
collection contents such as serials and collection-related needs such as cataloging
records. Collecting and compiling data can be used for analytical studies of services,
operations, and functions of the various parts (or the whole) of the organization.
The perspectives of those working in, using, and supporting the library constitute
a final planning factor. These perspectives inform both the library’s long-term and
short-term planning efforts. Each stakeholder, whether a user or a nonuser, has
perceptions concerning the quality of the library and its services. An immediate
perspective on quality comes from those closest to the library (staff and frequent,
known users), but their views may differ widely. Next are the perspectives of faculty
and students in the academic programs who use the library and its services less
frequently or not at all. The varied perspectives extend upward and through the
institutional hierarchy; they include views from divisions such as student affairs and
financial services. Members of the institution’s governing board also have perspectives
about the library. Additionally, planners learn about the library from groups such as
alumni, local and regional government officials, and those working in businesses and
community organizations.

Planning Techniques
Many techniques are available to help libraries create long- and short-term plans.
Libraries should have both types of plans. A long-term plan is an organized and
extended view of the library, charting its course for three to five years. This plan
addresses the strategic directions for the entire library. A short-term plan, often
for a year at a time, serves as the annual operations plan for achieving the goals,
objectives, and strategic directions of the long-term plan. An annual budget is an
example of a short-term plan that is aligned with the long-term plan.
This section briefly discusses some types of plans and factors to address
in planning. These are standards and guidelines, forecasting, management by
objectives, total quality management, and strategic planning.

Standards and Guidelines
Standards and guidelines are not plans, but they provide a means of framing
services because they are measurable and directly related to goals. They convey
critical information to review and incorporate as libraries develop or revise
their long-term plans. They also offer metrics by which one judges something as
authentic, good, or adequate. Professional groups and associations such as the
American Library Association (ALA) and ACRL oftentimes create standards and
guidelines. Program accreditors such as the American Bar Association (ABA) and


Planning

the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and regional
accrediting organizations such as Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) also develop standards and guidelines
applicable to institutions and their components, including libraries.
Examples of academic library standards and guidelines are those developed
by ACRL. The first edition of the college library standards was published in 1959;
subsequent editions were published in 1975, 1986, and 1995. Historically, standards
were prescriptive, first recommending a predetermined level of inputs (e.g., number
of books) and later adding general outputs (e.g., a library should expend X number
of dollars per student). As the discipline of library and information science matured,
standards and guidelines eschewed prescriptive metrics designed to demonstrate
library accountability through institutional and user-centered efficiency and
effectiveness. With the 2000 edition of the Standards for College Libraries, ACRL
departed from prescriptive standards. These new Standards included basic statistical
inputs used for traditional aspects of evaluation, engaged in outcomes assessment,
and provided methods to analyze library outcomes and operations.5
ACRL’s 2011 Standards for Libraries in Higher Education are designed to
guide academic libraries in advancing and sustaining their role as partners in
educating students, achieving their institutions’ missions, and positioning libraries
as leaders in assessment and continuous improvement on their campuses. These
Standards, which differ from previous versions by articulating expectations for
library contributions to institutional effectiveness, provide a comprehensive
framework using an outcomes-based approach, with evidence collected in ways
most appropriate for each institution.6 The core of these standards is the section
titled “Principles and Performance Indicators,” which recounts nine principles and
their related performance indicators applicable to all types of academic libraries.7
Table 1.2 is an example of an academic library aligning its collection
development objective with the 2011 Standards. The mapping process starts with
listing the collection development functions from the library’s strategic plan
(column 1), the inputs (column 2), and the outputs (column 3). ACRL’s collectionrelated quality measures from the document are listed in the column 4. The last
column (5) indicates the library’s derived metrics. ACRL’s performance indicators
from the Standards are listed at the bottom of the table.
Table 1.2
Mapping Collection Development to ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher
Education, 2017
Column 1: Functions

Column 2: Inputs

Column 3: Outputs

acquire info resources

funding allocated

expenditures

• special collection

linear feet shelving available

• by format

• reserves

collection

• by accounting index

• general collections, databases, and
reference

• total print volumes held (books,
bound serials)

• collection

5


6

Chapter 1

Column 1: Functions

Column 2: Inputs

Column 3: Outputs

• GovDocs

• titles held

• number of print volumes added

• CML (branch library)

• number of current serial subscriptions • number of titles added
by format

• ECC (branch library)

• number of monographs by format

• number of serial subscriptions added
by format

• digital collections projects

• number of subscribed databases

• number of microforms added

• acquire resources through consortia
collection development

• number of microforms

• number of government publications
added

• number of government publications

• number of items in audiovisual
formats, by format, added

support internal financial system for
collections

• number of items in audiovisual
formats, by format

• number of maps added

• order and renew resources

• number of maps

• number of e-books added

• maintain order and receive files

• number of items in special collections usage of library resources

• track orders; resolve problems and
claims

number of subject specialists

• collections (e.g., circulation, reserves)

• process invoices and renewals

number of items to catalog

• collection use by call number

number of items to process

• databases funded through library
and state

prepare materials for access and use

number of items to bind by format

subscription database usage

• provide bibliographic access (e.g.,
OCLC & Aleph)

number of items to be shelved

• number of electronic queries /
searches

• (add, withdraw, correct, maintain
catalog)

planned number of items to weed

• number of full-text articles
successfully downloaded

• process materials (physical)

in-library use of materials

• repair materials / bind

number of accreditations supported

• manage supplies

number of program reviews supported
number of bibliographic records

collection management

number of items prepared

• maintain stacks

• cataloged

• weed

• processed

• preserve

number of items
• withdrawn by format
• weeded [not the same as withdrawn]
• preserved/treated
number of items bound
user can access collections from all user
locations

Column 4: Quality Measures / ACRL 2017
Standards

Column 5: Metrics

collection strength, measured in programs and
disciplines

user satisfaction with library resources

• percentage of titles included in Bowker Book
Analysis System

• users find the library resources they need

• impact of weeding on collection quality

ratio of collection by format (print, electronic)

volumes held by program / discipline

• holdings by collections

• volumes held by call number as a proxy

• annual expenditures

• aligned with curricula and institutional strengths

• [example] electronic serial titles to print serial titles

overall collection age

volumes and students

collection use by call number

• volumes held per FTE student

supports accreditation

• volumes added per year per FTE student


Planning

user satisfaction with library resources

volumes and faculty

• users find the library resources they need

• volumes held per FTE faculty

accuracy of expenditures

• volumes added per year per FTE faculty

number of financial errors

usage information from ILL is used for collection development

passes audit

percentage of availability of information resources on and from off campus

accuracy of cataloging

average cost per resource added

accuracy of processing

collection expenditures

• bar code on correct item

• serial expenditures as percentage of total library materials expenditures

accuracy of shelving/reshelving an item

• monograph expenditures as percentage of total library materials
expenditures
• e-book expenditures as percentage of monograph expenditures
collection expenditures per student
• library materials expenditures per FTE undergraduate student
• library materials expenditures per FTE graduate student
ratio of collections expenditures that are acquired through consortia
average cost per current serial subscription
ratio of successful searches for library resources to all searches
percentage of empty linear feet
average time to catalog by type
average time to process by type
average time to bind
average time to withdraw an item
average time to shelve an item
• by item type

ACRL Performance Indicators
4. Discovery: Libraries enable users to discover information in all formats through effective use of technology and
organization of knowledge.
4.1 The library organizes information for effective discovery and access.
5. Collections: Libraries provide access to collections sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, format, and currency to
support the research and teaching mission of the institution.
5.1 The library provides access to collections aligned with areas of research, curricular foci, or institutional strengths.
5.2 The library provides collections that incorporate resources in a variety of formats, accessible virtually and
physically.
5.3 The library builds and ensures access to unique materials, including digital collections.
5.4 The library has the infrastructure to collect, organize, provide access to, disseminate, and preserve
collections needed by users.

Standards issued by regional accrediting organizations are critical for library
planning. An example is the standards from the Southern Association of Colleges
and Schools Commission on Colleges, a regional accreditor that monitors, evaluates,
and accredits educational institutions in the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee,
Texas, and Virginia. Its Principles, current through 2017,8 include these directly
discussing library services:

7


8

Chapter 1

2.9 The institution, through ownership or formal
arrangements or agreements, provides and supports
student and faculty access and user privileges to adequate
library collections and services and to other learning/
information resources consistent with the degrees
offered. Collections, resources, and services are sufficient
to support all its educational, research, and public service
programs. (Learning resources and services)

3.8 Library and Other Learning Resources
3.8.1 The institution provides facilities and learning/
information resources that are appropriate to
support its teaching, research, and service mission
(Learning/information resources)
3.8.2 The institution ensures that users have access to
regular and timely instruction in the use of the
library and other learning/information resources
(Instruction of library use)
3.8.3 The institution provides enough qualified staff—
with appropriate education or experiences in
library and/or other learning/information resources—to accomplish the mission of the institution
(Qualified staff).9

Forecasting
Forecasting is a process of making projections and predictions based on assumptions
about the future. Projections are based on a systematic review, while predictions are
opinions based on facts. Methods used in forecasting include using opinion polls
and surveys, applying a Delphi process,10 graphically plotting future trends based
on experience, reporting numerical data, and engaging in environmental scanning.
Planners also search for best practices in other organizations through benchmarking
studies.11 Scenario planning generates multiple forecasts of future conditions followed
by an analysis of how to respond to each scenario.12

Management by Objectives
Management by objectives (MBO) establishes organizational goals and objectives
and aligns them to individual personnel over a stated period of time, usually a
year. The objectives must be measurable, have time limits, and require specific and
realistic actions. MBO, a form of participatory management, involves everyone, to an
extent, in the management process by ensuring that planning is part of the personnel


Planning

evaluation process. This means that managers communicate and negotiate with
personnel concerning their responsibilities in meeting stated objectives.
A typical MBO process includes identifying, setting, and validating the
objectives; determining the steps for implementation during the year; and then
reporting on the progress for meeting each objective. Meeting the objectives
should be part of personnel evaluation. As an example, a stated objective might
be to expend the funds allocated for collections development to within the cost
of a postage stamp. The team members responsible for the collections’ financial
management would be evaluated on the extent to which they met this objective.

Total Quality Management
Total quality management (TQM) emphasizes quality. Library personnel work as
teams as they develop and deliver high-quality services. TQM’s mantra is getting
things done right the first time. A major constraint to widespread application
of TQM is that the systems for collecting and reporting data may become
overwhelmingly complex.

Strategic Planning
The strategic planning process is the most common planning process that libraries
use. Central to this process is a strategic plan, which lays out goals, objectives,
actions taken, and progress in meeting those objectives. Personnel responsible for
financial management (the library’s senior and middle managers) determine the
specific objectives the library will pursue during the next fiscal year and the action
steps to accomplish those objectives; they also allocate the financial resources to
achieve an objective. The quality of such planning addresses the performance level
needed to determine financial effectiveness (the accomplishment of objectives) and
organizational efficiency (the efficient use of resources) during the fiscal year.
The strategic planning process, which consists of a cluster of decisions and
actions that managers take to help an organization reach its goals, includes several
basic steps. An early step is to identify members of the planning team. Academic
institutions may hire an external planning consultant or may use an internal team
comprised of members of the faculty, members of an organizational unit familiar
with planning, or a combination of these methods. Planning team members
determine who else should be involved in the process, how they are to contribute,
and when their involvement will further the effort. It is a best practice to involve
as many stakeholders as possible, including library staff, users, and the library’s
advocates and critics. A time-contiguous step is to learn what kind of, and how
much, support can be expected from the institution, such as release time from dayto-day responsibilities for those designated to manage the planning process.

9


10

Chapter 1

The planning team coordinates the collection of data from internal and external
sources. Important data collection and analysis activities help to determine what
various stakeholders need and expect from the library, including how they use the
library both physically and remotely. While library staff and users have different
needs, both should be surveyed because most of the objectives and the supporting
activities to be implemented from the strategic plan will (or should) be directed
toward meeting identified user needs and expectations, as well as enhancing the
customer experience.
Once the data have been collected, the planning team undertakes internal
and external scans to understand better the environment into which the library is
moving. Self-analysis studies or reviews conducted by the library (e.g., using focus
group interviews, an analysis of increasing or decreasing gate counts, and a review of
incoming e-mail messages from stakeholders13) may reveal the library’s strengths and
weaknesses and trends over time. This review centers on the organizational culture,
beliefs, ethos, values, or assumptions that guide the library’s service goals. The
planners also analyze the gap between customer expectations of library services and
their satisfaction with the current delivery of those services they use. Methodologies
for studying gap analysis include, among others, customer surveys and interviews.14
A critical part of strategic planning is often referred to as a SWOT analysis
(strengths, weaknesses within the organization, opportunities, and threats from outside
the organization). The external part of the analysis—an environmental scan—involves
a review of political issues from the institution’s governance bodies and their attitude
toward the library; economic forces, such as general economic conditions and trends;
social forces, including the norms and values of the local culture; and technological
forces, such as anticipated changes in information technologies.
The planning team identifies and determines relevant standards or guidelines
from the institution’s regional accreditor as well as documenting the compliance
needs of program accrediting organizations. These standards or guidelines may
address the library’s infrastructure (staffing, collections, facilities, and technologies)
required to either gain or sustain accreditation.
The internal and external analysis leads to a concise understanding of the
organization, whom it serves, and how it serves them. This work results in a
data-informed strategic plan for improving programs and services within the
library’s physical and financial capabilities. The library’s planning team reviews the
organization’s vision and mission statements and proposes changes that uniquely
identify the library, the strategic goals and objectives, and the measurable and
necessary action steps as well as the budget required to fulfill the objectives.15 The
draft document should be widely available to stakeholders for review and comment.
Once the director approves the draft, it is sent to the appropriate institutional
authority or authorities responsible for oversight of, and accountability from, the
library. Depending on the hierarchical structure, the approval official may be a
provost, a president, or a chancellor.


Planning

The approval process informs the hierarchy of the library’s strategic directions
and priorities, and its expectations, and it gains acceptance for the resources
needed to achieve the long- and short-term objectives and actions. Once approved,
the objectives and action steps can be budgeted and implemented. Performance
metrics for each objective and their activities are compiled, compared, evaluated,
and reported at least annually. Feedback provided during the implementation,
accompanied by the reports and evaluation of progress, informs the next shortterm plan and the eventual revision of the long-term plan. Adjustments might be
made as objectives are accomplished and as priorities shift.

Major Components of a LongTerm Strategic Plan
The long-term strategic planning document reminds library decision makers to
accomplish what is specified in the short-term planning and budgeting document.
In other words, the objectives are reported in the long-term plan, and the shortterm plan provides the basis for tackling them year by year. The library does not
accomplish the long-term plan all at once.
The major parts of the long-term plan include the following:
• Mission statement. A mission statement portrays the library’s identity:
what it is doing and the services it provides its users and stakeholders. The
statement may also address the library’s critical values and principles, such
as ensuring access to collections needed to support learning and research,
and expected student learning outcomes, such as critical thinking. The
library’s goals and objectives support this stated mission.
• Vision statement. A vision statement is a declaration of the library’s
hoped-for future. An example is that the library will serve as an
institutional gateway for all needed information. While less important for
planning and budgeting than the mission statement, the vision statement
declares the library’s intentions and can serve as a focus for library
advocacy and transformational change. Stakeholders are more interested
in learning about the library’s vision than its current mission. The reason
is that the vision sets the foundation for how the future library will be
perceived (see chapter 10).16
• Goals. Goals are broad areas that libraries want to achieve or change,
such as empowering users to become self-sufficient, lifelong learners
and effective evaluators of information. Goals should be challenging and
outlive the lifetime of the long-term plan, but they should be realistic
and ultimately achievable with the availability of better-than-expected
resources such as funding.

11


12

Chapter 1

• Objectives. Objectives are action-oriented, measurable initiatives that explain
how the goals will be supported and user services improved. Objectives can be
created for the library’s infrastructure, services, programs and programming,
and partnerships and collaborations, as well as for its management. A
mnemonic is SMART objectives, which are specific, measurable, and
budgetable; achievable; realistic; and timely. Further, an evaluative process can
be applied to measure the progress toward achieving an objective.
Box 1.1, an example of a three-year strategic plan, includes mission
and vision statements, two goals, and seven objectives. These aspects of a
strategic plan, which are designed to be simple for the library’s stakeholders
to review, can be displayed on the library’s public website and handed out
as a one-page document. Additionally, library staff should be familiar with
the strategic plan and be able to explain it whenever stakeholders inquire.
Box 1.1
Strategic Plan (University of West Florida Libraries)*

Mission Statement
The UWF Libraries’ purpose is to provide information-related resources and services
to support the University of West Florida’s learning, teaching, research, and
community service missions. It intends to inspire the total individual, encouraging
personal, social and intellectual growth, and lifelong learning through the acquisition
of information and knowledge.

Vision
The Libraries will be an innovative, inspiring, and vital component in the academic
life of the University.[1]

Enhance the User Experience:
Foster Environments through which Staff Provide
Resources, Services and Programs Supporting
Learning, Teaching and Research
Objective 1.0
Objective 2.0

Develop and manage relevant intellectual content, balanced
across appropriate information formats, to support teaching,
research, and service regardless of geographic location.
Provide assistance to users seeking information, and for using the
library and its resources, services and programs.

*Source: University of West Florida Libraries, “Strategic Plan, July 1, 2014–June 30, 2017,”
revised September 2, 2014, http://libguides.uwf.edu/c.php?g=215171&p=1420488.


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